Miles Davis

Jazz Trumpeter
Born May 26, 1926

Miles Dewey Davis III was an American jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis was, with his musical groups, at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music, including bebop, cool jazz, hard bop, modal jazz, and jazz fusion.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Miles Davis.


1926 Birth Davis was born on May 26, 1926, to an affluent African-American family in Alton, Illinois. … Read More


1944 18 Years Old 1 More Event
…  He graduated from East St. Louis Lincoln High School in 1944. … Read More
1945 19 Years Old …  In 1945, he entered a recording studio for the first time, as a member of Herbie Fields's group. … Read More


1946 20 Years Old He finally got the chance to record as a leader in 1946, with an occasional group called the Miles Davis Sextet plus Earl Coleman and Ann Hathaway—one of the rare occasions when Davis, by then a member of the groundbreaking Charlie Parker Quintet, can be heard accompanying singers.
1947 21 Years Old In these early years, recording sessions where Davis was the leader were the exception rather than the rule; his next date as leader would not come until 1947. … Read More
In 1948, Parker returned to New York, and Davis rejoined his group. … Read More
1949 23 Years Old 1 More Event
The nonet was active until the end of 1949, along the way undergoing several changes in personnel: Roach and Davis were constantly featured, along with Mulligan, tuba player Bill Barber, and alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, who had been preferred to Sonny Stitt (whose playing was considered too bop-oriented). … Read More
1950 24 Years Old Despite all the personal turmoil, the 1950–54 period proved to be a fruitful one for Davis artistically. … Read More
In 1951, Davis met Bob Weinstock, the owner of Prestige Records, and signed a contract with the label.
1955 29 Years Old 1 More Event
Davis had an operation to remove polyps from his larynx in October 1955. … Read More


The material they recorded was released in 1956 on an album whose title, Birth of the Cool, gave its name to the "cool jazz" movement that developed at the same time and partly shared the musical direction begun by Davis' group.
1957 31 Years Old The quintet was disbanded for the first time in 1957, following a series of personal problems that Davis blames on the drug addiction of the other musicians. … Read More
A performance of Les Ballets Africains from Guinea in 1958 sparked Davis’ interest in modal music. … Read More
1959 - 1961 4 More Events
1963 37 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1963, Davis’ longtime rhythm section of Kelly, Chambers, and Cobb departed. … Read More


1968 42 Years Old Davis’ influences included 1960s rock and funk artists such as James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Sly and the Family Stone and Parliament-Funkadelic, many of whom he met through Betty Mabry (later Betty Davis), a young model and songwriter Davis married in September 1968 and divorced a year later. … Read More
…  This period, beginning with Davis' 1969 studio album In a Silent Way and concluding with the 1975 concert recording Agharta, was the most controversial in his career, alienating and challenging many in jazz. … Read More
1970 - 1973 4 More Events
Initially, Dave Liebman played saxophones and flute with the band; in 1974, he was replaced by Sonny Fortune, who was eventually supplanted by Sam Morrison during the band's final American engagements in 1975. … Read More
By the time the group reached Japan in February 1975, Davis was nearing a physical breakdown and required copious amounts of alcohol and narcotics to make it through his engagements. … Read More


1976 50 Years Old In 1976, Rolling Stone reported rumors of his imminent demise. … Read More
1979 53 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1979, he placed in the yearly top-ten trumpeter poll of Down Beat. … Read More
1980 - 1982 3 More Events
1983 57 Years Old In mid-1983, while working on the tracks for Decoy, an album mixing soul music and electronica that was released in 1984, Davis brought in producer, composer and keyboardist Robert Irving III, who had earlier collaborated with him on The Man with the Horn. … Read More
1985 59 Years Old 1 More Event
You're Under Arrest, Davis’ next album, was released in 1985 and included another brief stylistic detour. … Read More


1986 - 1988 3 More Events
1989 63 Years Old In 1989, he was interviewed on 60 Minutes by Harry Reasoner. … Read More
1990 64 Years Old In 1990, Davis received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Davis' last albums, both released posthumously, were the hip hop-influenced studio album Doo-Bop (1992) and Miles & Quincy Live at Montreux (1993), a collaboration with Quincy Jones for the 1991 Montreux Jazz Festival where, for the first time in three decades, Davis returned to performing songs arranged by Gil Evans on his 1950s albums as Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess and Sketches of Spain. … Read More
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